Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine French Fare, March 21 2002
This review is from: Ben Heppner - Airs Français / LSO, Myung-Whun Chung (Audio CD)
Canadian tenor Ben Heppner is certainly one of the finest singers on the current operatic scene. Despite his tendency to slightly squeeze the voice on top rather than allow it to bloom, he truly has a lovely vocal quality, full of warmth and color, along with a superior musical intelligence with which he has begun to bring a deepening sense of dramatic conviction to his interpretions over the last few years. On this disc, he succeeds greatly in the arias from operas which are within his vocal fach: Les Troyens, La Juive, El Cid, L'Africaine, and Le prophète. In particular, it is joy to hear the ardor and longing in his Enée (his complete traversal of the role with the LSO recently won a Grammy), the world-weariness of his Eléazar without the Italianate sobbing which has become de rigueur, and the victorious triumph of Jean de Leyde. Though Mr. Heppner's sense of lyricism serves him well, the other selections really require a different type of tenor, one whose vocal quality is lighter and more flexible in terms of dynamics and shading. Nonetheless, this is a fine recording, with exciting contributions from both the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Myung-Whun Chun.
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